Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Writers' Software

How many of you use a software designed specifically for fiction writers? I've heard about a lot of them, but never thought much about getting one...mainly because I didn't want to pay the price for something I didn't know if I would use or not.

But someone recommended a software called 'Storybook', which is on the Internet, and best of all, it is FREE ! I downloaded it, and it is turning into a gem. I also printed out the tutorial and all of the different charts. I took the charts to Office Max and had them enlarged to make them easier to read, as they print out in very small print.

When you first open the program, you are asked to create a new project, which is the book or story you are working on. On this page, you have 3 different areas. The first shows the scenes in chronological order, the second lists all the objects, which are characters, locations, chapters, scenes, etc., and then the third shows "quick information" about a character or location or whatever has been selected from the second area.

When you select a character, you can indicate him/her as a central character or minor character, including giving them names. Here is where you can also name the various locations in your story.

There is a large area designated as the for scenes. Every scene in the program is assigned to a "strand" (or plot-line,) and there is space to write a short summary of the scene, as well as places to write in the characters in the scene and the location. Because most stories/novels have several strands, there is a separate column for each strand.

There are various charts which really help keep everything and everyone straight, particularly if you have a lot of characters and locations. One is titled "Who is Where, When?", and it shows the names of all the characters, where they are supposed to be on any specific day and at any specific time. This is a tremendous help if you are like me, and have to keep going back into the story to find out what day it should be now, and where exactly my character should be. I have an awful time with remembering dates and time lines.

There is another chart that lets you keep track of where the characters are, according to the scenes and chapters. Another chart shows the appearance of the characters by date. This is especially helpful if you have several minor characters who appear early in the story, and then not again until much later on. It sure saves time so that you don't have to go back to your first few scenes or chapters to find out who they are, when they first appeared, and what part they played at the beginning. This also keeps your characters straight, in that if a waitress at a cafe is named Miss Winslow in the first scene she's in, your character doesn't go back to the same cafe with the same waitress whom you now call Mrs. Wilson.

There are many very good things about this software, the least of which, as I said, is that it is FREE. If you download it, don't forget to print out the tutorial, look on the left side where "charts" are listed, and print each of those out, also. They show you exactly how to use them, and it's so easy then to keep track of everything.

One of the best things about this program is that you can have as many stories going at one time as you want. All you have to do is click on the "Create new project" button, and you have all your charts before you, now empty, so that you can begin another WIP.

No, I'm not getting any kind of kickback for talking about this software! It's just something I think is a great help for writers, and since it's free and can be downloaded from the website, if you don't like it, just delete and uninstall, and it's gone.

The website is: http://storybook.intertec.ch/joomla.


  1. Hey thanks, I'm going to try that out. It sounds really helpful!

  2. Thanks, Mikki. I'm always looking for ways to get more words down on paper... faster. We all know that I might run out of words at any minute, right? (It could happen. It hasn't, yet, but it could) :-) So, I am going to check this out. Thanks for the tip.
    I love your blog, by the way. Nice job. - Yaya